Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: The 5th Horseman by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women's Murder Club #5)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Interesting stories and characters
Cons: Weak climax
The Bottom Line:
Multiple stories
Keep ladies very busy
Climax just okay

Women's Murder Club Takes on Two Cases

The 5th Horseman is another entry in James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series of thrillers.  The series revolves around four women who combine their professional resources and personal know how to solve crimes.  The main characters is Lindsay Boxer, the lieutenant in San Francisco's homicide division.  Claire is the city's coroner.  Cindy is a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.  Rounding out the group is Yuki Castellano, a lawyer introduced in the last book.  This particular book finds the four women dealing with two unrelated cases.

When a woman is found dead in a car, Lindsay assumes there is a connection to the car's owner.  But when they track him dow, he doesn't recognize the victim.  Even more curious, the victim was dressed in fancy clothes that had never been worn before.

Meanwhile, Cindy is covering a huge trial.  San Francisco Municipal Hospital is being sued for malpractice by a group of families who have had love ones die unexpectedly while in their care.  Yuki becomes interested when her mother is admitted to that hospital.  Is there a killer on the loose?  Or is the hospital negligent?

The fact that these two cases bothered me a little bit, but it was a minor irritant to me.  I got caught up in the story and had a hard time putting the book down.  Frankly, the chapters never help with this.  They average about three pages a piece.  That's makes it much easier to justify reading just a little bit further.  Maybe that's one reason I fly through the book.

The characters interact a little, but for the most part don't work together in this book.  But I felt like I got to spend time with them here.  Claire was the only one short changed.  Most of the book is told first person from Lindsay's point of view, but we get plenty from Claire or Yuki's third person viewpoint.  Heck, Lindsay's old partner Jacobi even gets a few chapters.  And Yuki really got fleshed out.

No, the problem with this book is with the plots, specifically the climaxes.  But don't worry, I don't intend to give anything away.  The first story ends early to allow us time to focus on the second.  The ending was logical although a little rushed.  It never fully explained one twist, although the guilty party was twisted enough I can guess what was happening.

The second story was my main problem with the book.  It just required some remarkable leaps.  I liked part of the wrap up, but some characters did some things that made me scratch my head wondering how they knew to do it.  And, as if the author ran out of room, they just wrap things up off page and told us who the villain was.  That was my biggest complaint with the book, in fact.  I read these things to see how the villain is caught.

I enjoyed the book right up until the end.  But the more I've thought about it, the more that ending has bothered me.  As a result, I can barely give The 5th Horseman a passing grade.

Here are the Women's Murder Club Mysteries in order.

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